The fine and always interesting Australian journal of international writing Contrappasso published four of my poems in its second issue (Issue 2, 2012) and three of my line drawings from my Rogues Gallery of the Insane series.  Thanks to editors Theodore Ell and Matthew Asprey for that. Here’s the link to the site below is one of the poems.


A Lament on Original Sin



Haloed by caul and born from carnal room

my first suck was a goat’s pap

and the hollow tooth of a bear’s claw

my first and truest spoon

But on the plaster fount of a concrete church,

in the shallow sight of streaked glass —

the pane of skyscrapers –

the red-eyed vision of a traffic light

they circumcised the forepart of Adam’s sin

and awakened the shame of lust in my skin


From that time my smile was a harelip

My mirror reflected a pallor of ash

A reek of molding lie rose from my tongue

and the serpentine specters of Eve’s


crawled though my sleep like the mildewed streams

on the wallpaper print of tenement rooms


Worms of flesh seethed in my coiled scrotum

I sought the velvet mattress and cushioned buttocks

of blond whores

the neon blight of corner bars

Eve’s pant was a bellow in my ear

and nerves of sulfur smoke branched through my brain


But how the green bile of gall vomited

from my spleen

at these copulations in dark closets

and at the spasms of other guilt-hunched men

who, in the chinked lids of my sight,


under temple roofs

as corrugated

as the wrinkled limbs of their sin


How could we stucco these walls of vermin wood?

these unblessed halls of public good?

and succumb in a weather of pious stench,

safe as the superstitious stains of our souls

our lives a testament of Christless fraud?





My soul creaked like a swollen bladder of holy water

I sought the salvation of men

with my locked knee

So I quit the plaza for the clean air

journeyed to the desert of Judea

in crepe and weeds

longing for locusts and wild honey

ran with the bush-tailed fox and the jack-rabbit

sweated under the prickly shade of cactus

communed with the sand-sun

cast my sperm on desert rock

to the congo beat of my penitent pulse

under a blood moon


And on the fortieth day

red-boned and black of foot

took the martyr’s trek to the city wall

under a cross of stars

the glowing moon of Christ’s redemption





Yet, brows of shadow dimmed the bone crevice

of my eye

its glint of religion

comb-waved heads rippled from my path

like the red sea

They feared the nettle-clot of my long-stranded hair

the goat-hide stench of my loin cloth

the burnished bones of cheek and hip

the lank bronze of bicep and thigh


For how could a savage reach a seer’s height

with the civilized?

and my prayers reverberated in my chest

like the percussive thump of enemy boots

in the evening gloom

There was an edge of teeth in my cry:

“Oh, unstitch the thorns from His knitted lips

for Paul froths in an epileptic spit


And down a gauntlet of their blue-coated

billy-clubbed peace officers

hooded vigilantes

I was driven

droopbacked and blinded by their sentinel stones





And now in the loud night and silence

of isolation

in the mistrusting glare of a coyote’s stare

the cap of my knees

in dark-root dirt

my shoulder rubbed by pine bark

and the omen hoot of an owl in my ears

I ask my Father”

Can I repair that rent in my chest

while it is concealed by a cloak’s fold?

Are men so stricken by those dark veins

of sediment

that rise to the surface of their sallow loins

those dull hints of doom

they dumb the healer in a hermit’s cell?


Or do I brood on the stinging flesh

to the detriment of a springtide air?


Am I to be just the missionary of my own soul?

the scourge of its speckled blot

only witness to my outcaste’s Golgotha?

drink solo from the pumping vessel of grace

in my chest?


Serve thee, Father, by standing sullen

while each man suffers the folly of his own pain

and redemption?

achieves his own salvation

–whether in fogged air

or under the sheltering dome of a cathedral?


If this is thy will, Father

and I have tread a fool’s path

then, Father, in thy name, Father,

ease these bitter constrictions of memory

and artery

tangled in my heart, parasites and host,

ease the throttling muscle in my throat

the glare of my chalk eye


Let this right hand bind the fist of the left

let them clasp palms from fingernail to lifeline

let them suffer the odor and salt

of mutual sweat and crossed thumbs


Father! in the name of the Father!

let me forgive myself and men


Floyd Salas